A judge revealed on Wednesday that Amazon jobs and two ex-employees had struck an agreement in an illegal retaliation case. The settlement in the dispute, which involved two women who claimed they were fired for speaking out against the corporate policy, prevents the retailer from facing a lengthy series of hearings.
The amount of money Amazon will compensate the ladies has yet to be revealed. Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, who worked as user experience designers in Seattle, were fired in April 2020 after speaking out against the company’s atmosphere and labor policies.
Senators such as Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., were outraged by their dismissals. Cunningham and Costa filed a formal complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, six months later, and the NLRB decided in their favor.
NLRB Administrative Law Judge John Giannopoulos said on Wednesday that the parties had reached a compromise after many delays in what was intended to be a hearing on Zoom to review the decision.
Amazon spokesperson Jose Negrete wrote in an emailed statement, “We have reached a mutual agreement that resolves the legal issues in this case and welcome the resolution of this matter.” Cunningham and Costa released a joint statement saying they were “thrilled.”
“This is a win for protecting worker’s rights and shows that we were right to stand up for each other, for justice, and for our world,” the statement said. “Amazon will be required to pay us our lost wages and post a notice to all of its tech and warehouse jobs workers nationwide that Amazon can’t fire workers for organizing and exercising their rights. “It’s also not lost on us that we are two women who were targeted for firing,” they said. “Inequality, racism, and sexism are at the heart of both the climate crisis and the pandemic.”
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which brought the case on the women’s behalf, encouraged other workers — unionized or not — to make their voices heard.
“Being able to assist not-yet-unionized workers who were acting in accordance with the law and who was fired has been an honor and responsibility we took very seriously … and we want to encourage all workers to speak out in a collective and constructive way to improve their workplaces if they so choose,” Faye Guenther, president of UFCW 21, said in a statement.
Cunningham and Costa were instrumental in forming Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, an employee advocacy group that protested and lobbied for fundamental improvements in Amazon’s climate change response. According to prior NLRB findings, Amazon has come under heightened attention from labor activists in recent years, and it has been found to have violated labor law in some instances. Last month, an NLRB hearing officer found that Amazon acted improperly during a union vote at a warehouse in Alabama. A ruling from the NLRB regional director in Atlanta is pending.
Source: NBC News